By Mike Esse, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Brian Forgue defines the phrase student-athlete. Student: He is on track to graduate a semester early with close to a 4.0 grade point average while being a part of the Athletic Directors Leadership Institute and the student athlete advisory board. Athlete: The senior defender has played every single minute in the 2012 season. That is 935 minutes.
"Brian is a Penn
State guy," said head coach Bob Warming, who began to rattle off Forgue's
achievements off the field. "He is a pretty good role model in terms of what it
means to be a Penn State guy."
Forgue, a native of Glenmoore, Pa., said that on his first official visit to Penn State, he got a feeling that he didn't get anywhere else. After that visit, Forgue recalled his mother telling him she never saw the smile leave his face during his visit, and that is when he knew he had to go to Penn State.
"I have grown to love this place from my first visit to now," he said. "That pride in this university has never really waivered for me."
From the first time he stepped foot on campus, Forgue knew what a great opportunity he had in being a student athlete at Penn State. Playing soccer for the Nittany Lions has given him a reason and a need to not only play hard on the field, but to represent his school off of it.
Forgue is a member of the Athletic Directors Leadership Institute, which his comprised of 64 student-athletes from all sports and they study leaders and how to properly lead their respective teams.
"It is just a wonderful tool to reflect on our own leadership style and mold that identity as a leader," said Forgue.
On top of that, he is also the student athlete advisory board representative for men's soccer which launched his involvement with Penn State's dance marathon, THON, which helps raise money for children with pediatric cancer.
"I have been given such a phenomenal opportunity to not only do what I love day in and day out and that is play soccer, but to represent an incredible university doing it," said Forgue. "That is the main reason why I feel giving back is important."
Through THON, Forgue leads the THON wish program for the men's soccer team where families are brought into the multi-sport complex during THON weekend and spend time with members of the team and get to play soccer with division one athletes.
It is a chance for kids who are battling cancer to at the same time enjoy a pick up game of soccer with Forgue and his teammates. Opportunities like those are the most fulfilling for Penn State's captain.
"It gives us a great opportunity to give back and get to know these kids and give them all access to a Penn State student athlete," said Forgue. "It's a wonderful thing, possibly the most rewarding thing I have done since I've been at Penn State."
"Given the platform that the student athlete is on, especially at a place like Penn State, you have to use it in a positive form and as a way to give back."
Knowing all of the work Forgue does to give back, fellow senior defensemen Jacob Barron acknowledged Forgue's work off the field and sees an easy translation of it on the field.
Barron recalled when he first transferred to Penn State and how Forgue was the one that helped him transition.
"When I transferred here he was really welcoming and easy to talk to and helped me get used to everything," said Barron. "He is a great guy to be with and you feel really comfortable when you are with him."
As far as the game of soccer goes, Forgue has seen an increase in minutes from a year ago where he was primarily a sub for Bob Warming's defense, but had no problem with doing what's best for the team.
His role might have changed in 2012, but the overall focus remains the same, putting team success before personal success.
"My personal role is to not be an individual and make this back line as cohesive as possible," said Forgue. "If I have to play every minute and be a leader on the back line, then that is what I am going to do."
Warming has seen improvement in Forgue's game ranging from his passing to his organizational skills on the back line, but the biggest improvement he thought the senior made was turning negatives into positives.
Once Forgue was able to that, his game on the field has evolved through watching more film and trying to correct the negatives on the field. In terms of how much time he spends on the field, Forgue credits his coaching staff and their focus on keeping guys rested and healthy.
"The objective here is to have the guys we started the season with still going strong at the last game of the season," said Forgue.
Forgue and the Nittany Lions will try to get their second Big Ten win of the season as they travel to Ann Arbor to play Michigan Saturday at 7 p.m.